UTRECHT, The Netherlands – For National Democratic Front of the Philippines chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni, the collection of revolutionary tax by communists is “not an extortion” but a “prerogative” of a government that renders social services to the people.
“The people in the area of the people’s democratic government welcomes its presence and the protection and services given by the New People’s Army,” Jalandoni told Davao Today in an interview at the NDF International Office here Monday afternoon.
“Taxation is a prerogative of the people’s democratic government. Tinatanggap yan ng population dyan sa area dahil nakakatanggap rin sila ng services. Diba may preventive health program, merong NPA medical units, tapos culture, protection (That is accepted by the population in the area because they themselves receive services such as preventive health program from the NPA medical units, culture, and protection),” he said.
Jalandoni said compared with the government taxation, the revolutionary tax is “well-audited.”
He said if the government panel will take the issue to the next round of talks scheduled on October 6-10 in Oslo, Norway, the NDF is ready to answer it.
The issue of revolutionary taxation was brought up during a press conference of the Pilipino Banana Growers and Exporters Association on September 26 in Davao City.
PBGEA believes that the ongoing peace talks between the government of the Philippines and the communists could only mean good for the banana industry, citing that the imposition of revolutionary taxation has affected their business.
“We’re really happy that the peace process is progressing, because without peace I believe that Mindanao will not attain its full development,” said Stephen Antig, executive director of PBGEA.
According to estimates by the Mindanao Business Council early January this year, damages to the business sector incurred through attacks by the NPA were higher than P246 million, the number set by the Armed Forces of the Philippines Eastern Mindanao Command.
The next round of peace talks between the National Democratic Front and the government of the Philippines will be discussing substantial agreements with the hope to address the root causes of the armed conflict.
Renato Baleros, one of the peace consultants of the NDF said the people’s revolutionary government has been established from the barangay “up to provincial-wide” level.
In a media conference held at the NDF-Joint Monitoring Committee in Cubao, Quezon City on September 13, Baleros said the people’s government is also implementing land reform for the farmers in the countrysides. (With reports from Paulo C. Rizal/davaotoday.com)